-Dr. Chakanda Maintains
In an exclusive interview with the Executive Director for the Sierra Leone Seed Certification Agency (SLeSCA), Dr. Robert Chakanda, he intimated that within the shortest possible time the country will be able to get seed sufficiency, and by extension, food sufficiency. This, he maintained will happen because of the programs planned to effectively ensure that this is achieved.
According to the Seed Expert, who has worked in various international agencies on seed system, his appointment by President Bio has not been a mistake, but a thorough examination of his credentials and how it fits into the President’s development agenda of the agricultural sector. He furthered that President Bio, in his address to Parliament, had stressed that his government is going to focus on agriculture, so as to achieve food sufficiency in the country. He furthered that in achieving this dream, which he stressed is achievable; there is the need to look at the seed sector. “Everything about agriculture is dependent on the quality of seed,” he emphasized.
SLeSCA, Dr, Chakanda explained, is a legal entity, charged with the responsibility to certify quality seeds for the improvement of agricultural yield. It is responsible to deal with all seed frown in the country, which includes; rice, cocoa, coffee, oil palm etc. Seed, he furthered is very complex and food sufficiency can only be achieved with good seeds. He also disclosed that as far as seed system is concern, Sierra Leone is far behind its African neighbours and there is the need to reach that level if we are to achieve food security.
To achieve the President’s call for food sufficiency, there is the need for a vibrant seed certification unit in the country. Seed is the backbone of agricultural prosperity, and is not bound to politics, it is for the country’s very survival. He stressed that in the next three years, there will be marked development in this sector and against President Bio’s second term, the country will be able to achieve seed sufficiency and by extension food security.
He intimated that he will be engaging all stakeholders on the prospect of getting quality seeds for the production of good quality food for the nation. Food security, Dr. Chakanda said, is achievable and not an illusion. He commended the President for taking this bold step to ensure that quality seed is ensured to increase agricultural yield.
Sierra Leone, he went on has very good soil for agriculture, and people have deserted their farms because it has not been attractive, but the determination of the government to ensure food security and the putting of more premium on agriculture, will see many people going back to their farms and will further see more farming organizations being formed. Sierra Leone, Dr. Chakanda stressed, will; take its rightful place among the community of nations as an agricultural giant producing quality products for its people and for export.